Athens to Saranda, Albania / Saranda to Athens, Greece

Last Updated on May 13, 2024

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When I travel overseas from Saranda I almost always fly out of Athens because they have incredibly cheap flights to Asia and elsewhere in Europe. 

There’s not a lot of practical information about travelling from Athens to Saranda or travelling from Saranda to Athens.

Travel from Athens to Saranda, Albania and from Saranda to Athens, Greece, person facing the Parthenon with camera in early dawn light

So I decided to put this handy guide together to make it a bit clearer. It’s an easy trip once you know when and where the bus comes and goes from!

Whether you want to take the bus from Athens to Albania, or do the opposite and travel from Albania to Greece by bus, it is simple. Just keep reading!

📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide on Amazon to get a comprehensive insight into the best places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)

Athens to Saranda Bus

Getting your ticket in Athens

First things first when learning how to take a bus in Athens: it’s advised that you get the ticket before your trip, either earlier that day or the day before.

Work out how to get an Athens to Albania bus, outside the bus depot in Athens with signs for different bus companies and Albanian destinations
Where to book your Athens to Albania bus

I have gotten a ticket as late as the late afternoon but if you’re travelling in summer the bus might become busy so get your ticket asap.

You don’t want to be trying to work out how to get to Sarande if the bus is already full!

You will need to go to the office called ‘Maksa Travel’ which is near the Metaxourghio Metro station  (Μεταξουργείο in Greek).

From Maksa Travel Sarande tickets can be purchased in advance so you don’t have to worry in peak season.

This is also where your Athens to Albania bus will leave from. The ticket price is €35.

Take the bus from Greece to Albania, map of where to book tickets in Athens from Maksa Travel to Saranda, Albania

The bus leaves Athens 2x a day, one in the morning (8 am) and one at night (8.30pm).

When you buy your ticket for the bus from Greece to Albania make sure you double-check the time as sometimes they can change!

There are other agencies where you can get your ticket from but I am just recommending the one I always get mine from as I don’t know the reliability of the other companies.

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Saranda to Athens Bus

Learn how to book an Albania to Greece bus, arrow pointing to building where you can book a Saranda to Athens bus
Book your Saranda, Albania to Athens, Greece bus here

Getting your ticket in Saranda

Getting your ticket from Saranda, Albania to Athens, Greece is easy, you just need to go to the ticket office ‘Butrinti Travel’, it’s right next to Dolphin Hostel.

This is also where your bus to Greece from Saranda will depart from. There is a bright red football cafe opposite!

As always, make sure to get on the correct bus – you don’t want to accidentally find yourself on the Saranda to Gjirokaster bus, or being taken in the wrong direction in Greece from Saranda to Thessaloniki!

Find out how to travel from Albania to Greece by bus, map of Saranda with arrow pointing to where where to buy bus tickets
Saranda office 

The bus leaves once a day, in the morning at 6.00am.

Make sure you double-check the times for your bus to Athens as sometimes they can change. I urge you to get there at 5.30 as sometimes the bus can leave a little early!

Ticket price is €35 or you can pay in Lek.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing!

Albania to Greece/Greece to Albania Bus Ride

While travelling from Athens to Albania or from Saranda to Greece the ride can take anywhere from 9 hours to 11 hours.

It really depends on the driver and how long the border takes. If traffic is really bad, it might even take longer!

I have been stuck on the border in a big queue for 2 hours once. The bus ride is nothing special but it’s not that bad either. 

They stop every couple of hours for a toilet break/ food break. Usually, at the border, you will have to take your hand luggage with you, put it on a table and they will inspect it.

I have also been on a trip where I didn’t even leave the bus! It’s the Balkans so you never know!

The bus is usually in good condition. I have had air-conditioning and a comfortable seat.

And of course, the drivers are all friendly and knowledgable and generally know how to reach Athens by road (or Saranda) without a map.

There’s no wifi but you will find on a lot of Balkan buses that there will never be, even if they promote it.

Other Ways to Travel Between Athens and Saranda

Unfortunately, the only way to travel from Athens to Sarande and vice versa is by bus.

There is no train from Athens to Albania, and you can’t get any flights from Saranda.

In fact, the nearest airport to Saranda is in Corfu! You can read my full guide on how to get from Corfu to Albania.

The only other way would be to rent a car and drive yourself. However, you’ll need to ensure you are insured to drive in both countries.

Read my full guide on how to hire a car in Albania.

🚗 Travelling Europe by car? For the best prices on car hire in Europe, opt for Europcar.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Can you travel from Albania to Greece?

Yes you can! The bus from Sarande to Athens leaves every day at 6am and takes 9 to 11 hours depending on traffic (as does the bus from Athens to Saranda!). The distance between Albania and Greece you’ll be covering on this bus is about 320 miles. This route is also the best way to get from Ksamil to Athens, or also from Corfu to Athens, because Corfu is just off the coast of Saranda! Make sure to check the Corfu to Athens bus timetable beforehand.

✅ How far is Greece from Albania?

Greece and Albania border each other, so it depends exactly where you are travelling to and from. When travelling from Saranda, Albania to Athens, Greece (or vice versa) the distance by road is 535.9 km (333 miles) and typically takes 9-11 hours by bus.

✅ How to get from Greece to Albania?

Again it depends on where in Greece and where in Albania. You can easily fly between the two, or take a ferry from Athens. However, if travelling from Saranda, Albania to Athens, Greece (or vice versa), your only options are by bus or car.

✅ What is the cheapest way to get to Greece from Albania?

The cheapest way to get to Greece from Albania/Albania to Greece is usually by bus. However, flights and ferries between the two are very reasonable, especially if booked in advance. If travelling between Athens to Sarande the bus is the cheapest option.

I hope that this post made your trip from Athens to Saranda/Saranda to Athens a little clearer on where to get tickets etc. I have been getting a lot of questions about this exact trip!

If you have any further questions then make sure you comment below so I can answer them for you.

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The Comments

  • Ferran
    September 22, 2019

    Woow this is so helpful. My wifey and I are trying to find info about this journey. We are gonna depart from Athens to Sarande or Gjirokaster and there is not much info, but this post is gold.


  • Teela Harris
    March 5, 2020

    Thank you I leave in a couple of days to Athens and then will be making my way to Albania 💖🥰

  • Jack
    June 1, 2020

    Thank you very much for this! Cheers during COVID-19!

  • Tom
    August 2, 2020

    I would like to travel from þathens to Saranda this year .Is it possible to do it and how please?

  • Noelle Mandolfo
    January 14, 2022

    Update as of 14 January 2022. Maska only has one route for Sarande at 8pm for 35£

  • Leon
    August 1, 2022

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for the information really useful! I’m looking to get from Sarande to Zakynthos any idea what is the best way to get there? Can the bus which runs from Sarande to Athens be used to stop elsewhere?

  • Rod
    August 28, 2022

    Have you seen any pets on that bus Athens-Saranda? Or do you know if they accept small pets in travel bag with pet passport?

  • Ander
    August 30, 2022

    Update August 2022
    Maska’s Athens office no longer exists. We had to go to buy tickets at a travel office called “18” (not shown on Google Maps), which is located down the street: Theodore Diligiannis number 18. There is currently only one bus leaving at 19:30, you have to arrive in advance and it is advisable to buy the ticket in person beforehand, and it is priced at 40€. It is not a 100% direct bus to Sarandë. It took us to a service station further away from Gjirokaster, where 6 of us got off and got into the family car of a man who was waiting there. All in all, we arrived in Sarandë around 4 am. The driver dropped us off at the bus/taxi station. Pretty crazy way to enter to Albania.

  • Thu Tran
    September 30, 2022

    Hello Anita. Thank you for your sharing! Is there anyway we can book the bus from Sarande to Athen in advance? We will be in Sarande only 2 days then move on to Athen to catch our flight.

  • Dee
    July 24, 2023

    Hi Anita. We need to leave from Saranda to Athens for a flight back to Aus in mid August. Is this information still current to enable us to get a bus from Saranda to Athens for 2023? Thanks Dee

  • Lorraine Reilly
    January 23, 2024

    Hi Hendrika
    Could you tell me where the Saranda to Athens Bus departs in Atens please.
    great site
    Lorraine (new sub)